Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Moving On

So, the MRI showed that my knee is structurally sound. Tendons, ligaments, meniscus... All good. The MRI also showed that I do have arthritis and chondromalacia patellae. Doctor said to find a new sport. With less impact on my joints. I was already planning for this. These are my new toys:

BUT! I can also continue to run! In limited amounts. If I make other things (see above photos) a bigger part of my life. I am FINE with that! I can still run sometimes. Like maybe a few times a week. And maybe I can go have fun at some races here and there. I can learn to do that. Have fun, I mean. And those cute little girls with their outfits and ponytails can go right on ahead and speed past me. Let's face it, they surely don't have a bike that's half as awesome as mine (Did you see it's black and khaki and gray! With flowers!) OR super cool hemp hiking shoes (which is what happens when Hubby goes shoe shopping). And I know I get far more joy from the little things (like chocolate - do they even eat chocolate? Or running). I've had my heyday. I've done some things. Let someone else have a turn. (Right? That's right, isn't it? It sounds good. I'm going to keep repeating it until I totally believe it.)

AND! Of more immediate importance..... If I may quote Doctor: "If you feel okay, and you want to run on Saturday, that would be okay." Big Race, here I come! No, I can't see that I'll come anywhere near the time I was training/planning/hoping to run. It's not gonna be a PR day. But I'm running. There's the victory for me, right there.

Overall, I feel pretty good. Even with my stiff, arthritic knee. Even making some major changes. I'm moving on, in lots of ways.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Happy Sadness

So, today was my day to see some things for myself that others have been alluding to for some time. Emailing a stranger for advice really helped to crystallize some thoughts that had been milling about in my head for a bit now. This whole knee thing just made it all more immediate.

The knee is still odd. Not really swollen any more. Still achy, especially with odd movements. It could be the IT band. I worry it's something with the meniscus. I saw the acupuncturist yesterday and was given some things I can do, involving a great deal of pain to my pinkie finger, and I have a treatment for Monday. That should do something. I'm hoping to get a few treatments in and be able to run next week. And then I'll see what happens from there. It will most likely continue to involve the acupuncturist. And probably the chiropractor. And maybe someone specializing in sports medicine. Hopefully not surgery.

But today I emailed a stranger asking for advice about my life and what to do with it now. I got some good stuff in return. And this is what I've decided. I have to stop running so much. (Which is odd, because I've already thought that I cut back on running. But, I guess it wasn't enough.) And I need to start doing some other things instead. Namely, bike riding and hiking. It's not running. There's nothing that can ever be like running for me. But I have to make some changes. I have to. That's what I've learned this week. I am just NOT a person who can spend so much time sitting around. I need to be active. And if I want to be able to walk into my old age, I'll have to make some changes in my activity choices. I have to. That's the message in all of this.

And what that means is biking and hiking. I know that. That's what's right for me. Hubby is quietly happy about this because he'd like to be a bit more active, and these are activities I'll want someone along for. And that he enjoys. So he'll get to play, too. So much so that we're taking this weekend to get me a new bike (because we can't really share a bike like we have been if we intend to ride at the same time. He's not going to ride on the handlebars, after all.) and get us each some decent hiking boots (old running shoes have been fine for our purposes up to this point, but it's gonna get serious now). I'm still planning on running a few days a week. Most likely on the weekends. And I'm still hoping to hit my favorite races each year. I just won't be racing them. And that makes me sad.

So, this year will be hard for me. I know it will. I had to force myself not to cry just saying this stuff out loud this evening. I'm not a "natural runner." I had to work really hard to get to this place, where I can race and be kind of competitive (almost..... at least in the fantasy world in my head). It will be sooooooooooooooo hard for me to not do that. And maybe I won't be able to . It really, truly might be easier for me to just not run races at all. We'll see. I'm going to try. And it's looking like that's what I'll have to try next week. Just running. I might cry. I will most likely cry. But that's okay. Hubby will be there. I will call Best Friend. Someone will provide chocolate. It will be okay.

I will need to mourn this. I know that will sound stupid to many people. But to me, this will be a big, big loss. This is a huge part of my life; of who I am. It makes me sad to think it won't be there in the same way for me.

But at the same time, there's this happiness underneath it. I am excited about the prospect of something new. The thought of taking the bike out for some serious riding makes me a little giddy. The thought of some mega hiking (and there is some great hiking to be had around here) gives me a little chill. That's how I know this is right.

I'm doing the right thing. I know I am. So I'll mourn the loss, and start the next adventure.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Running On

So, today I’m still hobbling about like an idiot. And doing lots of sitting with my knee elevated. Why I keep wearing skirts to work is beyond me.

But I’m also thinking about the possibility of not running races. At all. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I’d still run, just not at races. I’m also thinking about the possibility of not racing races. Just running them to run. I’m not sure I could do it. I think it’d be easier to not run them at all. I would feel kind of like a failure just running. I don’t want to embarrass myself. And I don’t want to embarrass anyone else or let anyone down. And I don’t want to be that girl who used to be good, and now she’s just slow. I’d feel like I had to tell everyone that I meant to run slow. But I’d sound like I was just making excuses for doing poorly. I know I'm not going to win, but I don't want to suck either. I'd like to at least place. I don't know why I feel that running a certain speed, or lack thereof, would embarrass me or those around me. But I do. And I always have.

I like running in races. I think it’s fun. I like the atmosphere of it. The excitement. The new race shirts. The courses. The free food at the end. And the oddness of it all is, I always want to do well, but I don’t really want anyone to see me or, you know, acknowledge me. I kind of try to be invisible. I don’t have any training partners or friends who run (the closest I come is making Hubby run trails in front of me once a week in the summer to scare the snakes out of the way). I don’t know anyone else running at races. I always use my headphones. I don’t generally make conversation with anyone who wasn't in the car with me on the way to the race (and sometimes not even them, because I get so nervous). I don’t generally stay for awards, regardless of whether I place or not. I show up, run, and go home.

And even odder, I’m kind of (okay, really) jealous of the people who do all of that stuff. The social people who know each other and laugh and joke and run together. The women who look all cute and tiny in their running outfits, with their bouncy hair. The people who don’t seem to care at all what the clock says. Who are smiling and laughing and having a great time regardless of how fast or slow they run. I don’t know how they do it. I can’t seem to. I just feel like I'm never good enough or fast enough or thin enough or enough of anything enough.

So, I guess I’m feeling like I’m at a crossroads. I’ve been running for about 22 years now. Which is a lot, really, now that I think about it. And something has to change. I know it does. Pieces of me aren’t working properly, for goodness sake. But I’m just not sure what to do or how to do it. And how to move forward after it's done.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Not So Fine Today

So, I’m a believer that things happen for a reason. I think I’ve said that before. But sometimes I just really, really, really, really want to know the reason, you know?

I have a pretty big goal race coming up next weekend. And as of yesterday, my knee is swollen and aching. I’ve had bad knees for years from, you know, running. Aching is nothing new, especially in wet weather. But to be pained and swollen? Why?

Because, I’m me. So I start to wonder, what did I do wrong that I am being punished for? Why am I being karmically gotten back at? I mean, I must have done something wrong. Right? Was it the accident with the chocolate chips yesterday? Because I swear I didn’t really mean to eat that many! It just happened! And wasn’t the digestive distress it caused me enough payback? Have I just been eating too much sugar in general? Have I been overly lazy? Not holding up my end of the deal of life? Have I just been a bad person lately? Extra negative or worrisome or annoying or mean? I’d like some specifics; to know what I did do and what to do so that the universe doesn’t conspire against me anymore.

Or, do I need to look at it differently; say that it’s a good thing that I didn’t go for another trip to Boston (because I could have gone this year, too) because how bad would that have sucked to have my knee a mess for that? Or that I’ve had a few good years in a row and that’s how the pendulum swings? Or that for whatever reason, it’s time to not be running so much?

But really, my race next week is important to me. I want to do well. Not just run. Do well.

And I love running. What ELSE would I do?

Because I just want my knee to be fine again. Like a normal knee size. I just want to be able to run next week.

Really, I just want to be fine. Overall fine. Nothing wrong or not working or broken or sick. Just fine.

Oh, I’m just wallowing now. I’ll stop. Anyway, my tea’s getting cold.

I'll think of something positive to say. Really.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Intention or Perception?

So, lately I've been thinking about intention and perception. And which is more important in dealings between people.

If a person does something with the best of intentions, but it is perceived negatively by the other person, which of those wins? The intention or the perception? What I've come up with it this.

I think that if one person takes another's actions as negative, they should talk to that person. Say to them "it upset me or hurt me when you did that." Then it's up to the other person to try and fix it, for lack of a better term. To say "oh wow, I so totally did not mean it that way.... what did I do or say to make you think otherwise because I don't want to do that again." I think then both parties are working to correct the situation. I think that shows some mutual caring and respect. I think those kinds of situations, although probably awkward and difficult and perhaps embarrassing, will work out just fine.

But if one person say to another "hey when you did that, it upset or hurt me" and the other person says "well, you're wrong, I didn't do that" then maybe there's a problem. Is it that the need to be right is stronger than the need to be caring? Is that a person who is self-centered? Is it just someone who's kind of dense? I don't know. But if that kind of thing keeps happening, I start to wonder if that's the kind of person that I want to be a part of my life.

So I guess I'm starting to think that intention is important. But if your intentions routinely do not come across in your actions, then the perception of others really needs to start carrying some weight.

Does any of that make any sense at all?

Monday, April 13, 2009

This Moment

I have this habit of living then. Or later. But not now. A lot of it is filled with worry about what has happened. Or what didn't happen. Or what could happen. Or what might happen. Or what might not happen. Or fretting about what I did do. Or what I didn't do. Or what I could have done. Or what I shouldn't have done. I don't spend a lot of time looking at what IS. What I AM doing. So I'm trying to change that.

I making a concerted effort to not look back or forward any more than is necessary. I'm trying to live RIGHT NOW. It's hard. Especially when you're a worrier like me. I'm constantly nervous about everything, which leads to a lot of "what ifs." I'm working to change that to "what is." Looking at this moment. Right now. What's going on right now. What is good right now. What should I be thankful for right now.

I noticed that this past weekend, I consciously decided, very soon after waking, that it was a good day. It was easy to do. The sun was shining. It was a weekend. I was going to do some yoga then go run. I was doing things I wanted to do. I was relaxed. My internal systems were working well. It was easy to see what was good. I liked that.

Back to work, that wasn't so easy. It was sort of hard to see what was good in the moment when it felt like there were five thousand demands from last week and next week and then and later following me around. But I still made the effort. I tried to not be upset about things I could have done or didn't do or couldn't change or couldn't control. I (mostly) looked for what I could enjoy in the moment. It didn't work all day long, but it did a little bit. It's a work in progress. It helped that the option of chocolate has returned to my life.

Thoreau said we are rich in proportion to the number of things we can afford to let alone. I do pretty good with that externally. Now I need to work on letting things alone internally, too.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

You Capture - Fun

The You Capture challenge this week was "fun." That's pretty subjective. But..... This was what I did for fun this past weekend. Fantastic dinner with Hubby at our favorite place. I do this for fun on lots of weekends. (My fun tends to be pretty low key. I'm just like that, I guess.) Head over to Beth's blog to see what fun everyone else had.

Wednesday Stuff

So, why is it that with so many advancements in medical technology, you still have to wait two to three WEEKS to get test results back? Really. It seems that there has to be something to speed that up a bit, don't you think? Waiting is only conducive to worrying. And I do enough of that without having a specific worrying goal. I'm just saying......

On a totally unrelated note, in order to get to the doctor today, I had to do my Wednesday evening long run in the morning (which kind of defeats the purpose, but still). And I had so forgotten how much I LOVE to run so early. When it's just me out there, and everything it so quiet and still. And there's no cars or other people. And you can hear the birds (at least until you push play on the ipod). And you get to watch the sun rise. And the air is so crisp and clean. And you kind of feel like you can fly. I love that time and that feeling. It's like anything is possible at that point. I sure as hell don't want to do it every day; I had to get up even earlier than usual to make that happen, which is why the Wednesday evening long run started in the first place. But it was wonderful for today.

Monday, April 6, 2009


My Top Ten Favorite Books (Okay, so more like 10 of my favorite books because 10 isn't a lot and I have lots and lots and lots of favorites, but still. And they're not even all kids books, either!)

1. A Summer to Die by Lois Lowry - This has been my favorite book since 4th grade. I LOVE IT! It's about Meg and her sister Molly, who are two very different people, and what happens when they move from their home in Boston out to the country so their dad can finish writing a book. So, the title kind of tells you that someone dies, but there's also birth and unexpected friendship and finding out who you really are and why it's so important to be you. I so relate to Meg. Quiet and unsure of herself and insecure, but also kind of confident to the outside world. To this day, I relate to Meg. Just have the tissue ready.

2. The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt - This is a newcomer. I just read it this past fall and fell in love instantly. It's about Holling Hoodhood, who is the only Protestant in his 8th grade class in Long Island. So when everyone leaves on Wednesday afternoon to go to Catechism or Hebrew school, he's the only one left. And his teacher has to figure out what to do with him. Which winds up being reading Shakespeare. And involves two rats getting loose in the school. And the New York Yankees. And the Vietnam War. And cream puffs. And yellow tights with strategically placed feathers. It's set during the 1967-68 school year. It's laugh out loud funny. It's wipe away the tears so you can keep reading touching. It might be the perfect book.

3. Walden by Henry David Thoreau - If I had been alive at the time, I'd have been Mrs. Thoreau, living in the one room cabin on the banks of Walden Pond. This book shaped much of who I am today. It's the birth of environmentalism, transcendentalism, living simply and consciously. My copy is filled with highlighted passages. It's dog eared. I read it cover to cover about once a year and refer to it much more than that. I've read it so many times, I could probably recite it right now (kind of like the "who's that little old man" scene from A Hard Days' Night). It's what I strive for and will most likely always strive for.

4. Where Is Joe Merchant? by Jimmy Buffett - It's like a kids book for grown ups. I can't even begin to explain the plot. There's a lot going on in there. But it's all fun and funny and full of adventure. Kind of like Jimmy's songs, but longer. The first time I read it, I read it cover to cover sitting in Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris. But I could have sworn I was gallivanting about the Caribbean with Frank Bama and the whole quirky group. Every time I read it, it makes me want to learn to fly a seaplane. (Until I remember that I'm deathly afraid of water)

5. Get In the Van by Henry Rollins - Many people don't really know that I have this punk rock part of me. But I do. And this is one of the ways it manifests itself. To this day, I love Henry. And this is his chronicle of his time in one of the great American punk bands, Black Flag. (If you don't have Rise Above on your ipod, go download it now. I'll wait.) Brutal and brutally honest.

6. The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer (It's not cheating! You have to read all four books to get the whole story) - Let me just say, I was THE FIRST person to read Twilight, like, right when it came out. And then I spent forever and a day telling everyone I encountered that they HAD to read this book. And no one did. For ages. I practically had to beg Work Friend to read it. But little by little, I got the word out. I think I should get some kind of compensation for that (call me Stephenie). If you haven't read these yet, just step away from your computer and go start reading right now. You'll want Edward to be your vampire boyfriend, too.

7. All-American Girl by Meg Cabot - Samantha Madison, the art rebel who loves Gwen Stefani and has dyed all her clothes black in protest of all kinds of things, manages to save the life of the President of the United States. And then finds out the kind of cute guy in art class who liked her combat boots with the white-out daisies painted on them is the son of the President of the United States. It's hard to pick the best Meg Cabot book, but this has to be it. I've read it as read aloud multiple times and have yet to be able to do it without laughing out loud. Samantha's press conference gets me every time. (I will say, the Queen of Babble books, which are totally grown up books, almost made the list.....)

8. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares (still not cheating) - The story of four girls of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds who find a pair of pants in a thrift shop that somehow fits all of them perfectly. And those pants become the link between them as they spend their summers apart. Yet another set of books where you will laugh and cry and really, really, really relate. You are guaranteed to see yourself in a least one of these girls (Or maybe you're a blend, like me - part Carmen, part Tibby, part Lena).

9. The Gospel According to Larry by Janet Tashjian - The story of Josh Swensen, a.k.a. Larry, who posts his "sermons" about the state of the world and commercialism and lots of other things on his website (www.thegospelaccordingtolarry.com). Which sparks something of a movement. And, eventually, Bono is involved. But that's not why this is so great. Josh's hero is Thoreau. How do you not love that? Reading this book made me take another look at my life and whether I was doing enough with it. I don't think I could ever get down to just 75 possessions, but I strive nonetheless.

10. A Man on the Moon by Andrew Chaikin - I'm a space nerd. Yes. I admit it. I've read just about every book on the early history of space flight. I can tell you all about every mission from Mercury through Apollo, and quite a few beyond. But this is the best book about such things. The perfect blend of the technical marvel and human spirit of space flight. It's what that HBO miniseries was based on. Which was an awesome miniseries, even if I don't watch much tv and had to get my mom's co-worker to tape it for me since I didn't have HBO. But the book is better.

Honorable Mention (I said, 10 is not a lot): The Schwa Was Here and Antsy Does Time by Neal Schusterman - Antsy Bonano is one of my favorite characters ever. Can't get through these without laughing out loud either. And when I had a stupid question about Antsy Does Time and emailed it to Neal Schusterman, he emailed me back. ( I needed to know why a man's tie would be over his shoulder and Hubby didn't know. Which tells you how often he wears ties. Apparently, it means the guy has been in the bathroom. Which makes me wonder how long his tie is. Among other things.)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

You Capture - Spring

I know it's spring when I start seeing Easter all around me....... I think I like the baskets the best. But the vicarious chocolate was fun for me, too. There's lots more spring captures at Beth's. Happy Spring!